Gestefeld Basic Course: Lesson Four
THE ORIGIN OF EVIL
SPECIAL PRAYER: “THE I AM IS MY OWN, MY LORD AND MY GOD. THE I AM THAT I AM IS THE UNIVERSAL FATHER. ONLY THROUGH THE SON (I AM) CAN I KNOW THE FATHER (I AM THAT I AM)”.
The way to the Father is through the son, the Mediator. Man can do all things when acting from the I AM consciousness. In our last lesson we dealt with the world of shapes, and found in the last analysis that it is not error as sometimes called, but instead, is an important factor or spiritual necessity in the carrying cut of the Divine Plan. The Neumenon, or the thing in itself, is back of the objective world because It subsists in the invisible. There must be a corresponding phenomenon on the existent plane, for as we read, “There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed” (Luke 8:17). Everything, in the unseen, has its counterpart in visible creation, hence the endless variety of shapes on the plane of Representation. Thus we see that the world of Phenomena is the plane of illusion which veils the substantial Reality back of it. As such, it is good, and has a rightful place in the divine economy. In view of this, it is not to be antagonistic, but is rather to be overcome by an understanding of what it is, and what purpose it serves. Evil (so-called) is not a real Entity, but an appearance or illusion, arising from the undeveloped nature of existent soul, and is to be dispelled by a conscious recognition of its opposite which is the positive changeless, Good.
Evil is not of God, from God, or like God, and therefore is not a created thing. It is simply a dream of the sense soul while in the Adam sleep, and as such is nothing. By fighting it we invest it with a seeming power that does not inhere in it, or any ether negation. Evil bears the same relation to Good that darkness does to light. The latter, which is the positive luminous Reality, dispels its opposite, and establishes in the consciousness the True Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Thus, we see, that the way to dissipate the darkness is, not to deal with it as an entity, but simp]y to turn on the Light, and let it act according to its nature. Thus the darkness vanishes into its native nothingness, naturally giving place to Its positive, substantial counterpart. Thus we see that the way to put out a false or undesirable tendency is not to fight it, but to simply turn from, or forsake it, and “set up” a new true one in its place.
The senses belong to the Ego, but operate through soul-function on the plane of person. Because of (this) their place “Spiritual Whole” they are perfect in themselves, but as to how they manifest is wholly dependent upon the status of the soul which is their medium for manifestation. Soul is blind, and makes mistakes, so long as it uses only its outsight, and it is not until outsight is coupled with insight that its eyes are fully opened, and soul sees the Real back of appearances or the unreal.
Existent soul, the part of us that thinks, is the only changing factor in Creation. Perfect Self-Understanding is its destiny, but between its origin and its destiny lies the plane of existence or experience which has to be overcome and we prove to ourselves that this overcoming can be successfully accomplished only by following the leading or dietates of the Higher Self which is the “Lord of Hosts.”
The natural activity of this Real Self is the “Power to think” and it depends wholly upon how soul God derived “Power” whether it walks with God in the consciousness of Truth or follows the lead of “mortal sense” and stumbles along in the darkness of ignorance. “Mortal sense” which is natural ignorance is the sense which belongs to the infancy of the soul. It is a temporary sense which is to be outgrown and left behind as soul “wakes up” from the Adam sleep and comes to itself.
Because of natural limitations, it does not at once see through the phenomenal, but simply looks upon it, and judges accordingly, hence makes mistakes. Because of the Law of Cause and Effect, soul is in bondage to its own mistakes, even though they are the result of ignorance. Through the working of this inexorable Law, Soul is made to reap the consequences of its error thinking, and as a result is (tune) turned out of Eden or Harmony, and brings upon itself discord, disease, and disaster, with the accent on the first syllable, dis — , while living in a far country, feeding upon the “husks of materiality.” The story of the Garden of Eden is an Allegory of nature and not of Ethics. Adam could not find among all the things brought to him to name, a Help-meet for his soul. Because of its divine origin, soul cannot thrive upon the husks of externality, but demands the spiritual food that nourishes. It must have self-knowledge, for it alone satisfies soul hunger. Eve (or Intuition) the “Mother of All living” supplies this demand, for her office is to minister to the rational or masculine nature and lift the man who “tills the soil” — “up and out” of the “slough of materiality.”
[TruthUnity note: Whew! So much for Eve being the temptress. The last sentence of this paragraph just may be the most brilliant line of feminist metaphysics ever written.]
We find that the Woman was not turned out of the garden, but ever dwells in Eden, and makes Heaven upon earth for him who heeds her words of wisdom. Her spiritual insight pierces the veil of materiality and clearly sees what man’s outsight fails to penetrate. Adam (or intellect) leans wholly upon the outer until Eve, his “better half” shows him the “better part” and thus helps him to forsake the error of his way and turn to the Lord. There is nothing bad or unmoral about the Adam soul, nor is its so-called fall, shameful, but is rather a fall upward or into knowledge. The apple tree is only a tradition, for what Eve gave Adam to eat was not apples, but the fruit of the tree of knowledge. “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die” so reads the text, which being interpreted aright is not an arbitrary decree or fiat as at first appears, but is simply a statement of the law of Cause and Effect. Just as one might say to a child, “If you put your hand in the fire, you will be burned, surely.
The serpent that tempted Even was self-deception, or the “serpent of appearances” which is ever abroad in the land, beguiling the infant soul. The mistakes we experience belong to the soul. They are the harvest we reap, from the false conclusions of the infant soul which through its youth mistakes the “mask for the man” the figure for the number, or the symbol for the Reality it represents. Looking upon shape, Primal Innocence says: “This is I” and herein lies the origin of evil, and it would seem that the main business of “growing soul” is to rectify this mistake of the “infant Adam” soul. Self Idea is involved in our very existence, and upon it hinges our weal or woe. At first, shape only is visible to soul, and in consequence, idea of self attaches to person instead of the Real Man.
Evil has its rise in ignorance. It neither expresses or manifests God, but instead, bodies forth ignorance of First Cause. It comes through wrong use of the thinking power, and goes out by right thinking or judging according to Principle, and not according to appearances.
Sin, in the last analysis, is simply natural ignorance, or error in thought arising from lack of self-understanding. It is not the result of wilful error, but is involuntary, and unintentional, having no moral quality whatever. Mrs. Eddy says: When mortal mind knows better it will do better, thus recognizing that the shortcoming of the infant soul are not moral lapses, but the natural outcome of its youth and inexperience, and that because of its origin and nature, so-called evil carries with it its own punishment, which proves that we are not punished for our sins, but by them. Truly, a burnt child dreads the fire. If then, sin or ignorance is the root cause of all seeming suffering and sorrow, then clearly self-knowledge is the evident remedy or help for all human ills. If ignorance is the Cause, surely the antidote is more knowledge.
[TruthUnity note: The theological postion that “when mortal mind knows better it will do better” is typically known as Pelagianism. Pelagianism says that human beings can take the initial and fundamental steps towards salvation by one’s own efforts, apart from Divine Grace. Readers of the above paragraph and the following paragraphs should note that New Thought and Metaphysical Christianity asserts that our minds are not private, that they are one with the Mind of God, and at any moment in time and, regardless of our state of consciousness, they are always open to Divine Grace. That is why we proclaim that we are always capable of taking steps towards salvation.]
It is the God-ordained specific for the sin-sick soul, and as one of old said: “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” It alone can dissipate the sense dream and open our eyes to the Truth of Being which proves to us that comparative Good and evil are only our sense about it. Understanding of this glorious Truth further shows us that we as souls are not automatons manipulated by an unknown power but proves conclusively that Man’s man has the “power of choice” or selection, and because of this is the arbiter of his own fate, and may choose whether he will work with the Law of the Universe all of which goes to prove that a man “must reap as he sows. If he sows to the wind, he must reap the whirl-wind, for the Law is fixed, and brings back to the soul (actualized in conditions) what it chose to send out in thought. Then let us no longer question the justice of the Power that over rules but quietly accept whatever comes as the legitimate reaping of our own sowing. It is a law of nature that nothing can ascend that has not already descended, and that no thing can be resurrected that has not been buried. So, we see that the “Fall” of man is in no sense “shameful” but rather a “fall upward” or into knowledge. Adam did not fall from a great height, but fell from primal innocence into a degree of light or a little knowledge. The man that is entombed in materiality must be raised from the dead (shape) — dead in trespass and in sin, and lifted up above the sense plane where mortal sense rules, — into the higher realm where God’s Man reigns.
The infant Adam after eating of the “tree of good and evil” begins to wake up and take notice, forming conclusions about what it looks upon. It thinks regardless of the law "sowing and reaping" and thus brings upon itself painful experiences. It uses "Thought Force" without knowing its nature and value, little realizing that it is dealing with the Great Dynamo of the Universe. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that it prevents happiness and success and perverts itself, and the use of the “thinking power” and Brings upon itself undesirable conditions.
In conclusion, to sum up the lesson, we find that evil (so-called) is not a created thing, or living Reality, but merely a “sense” belonging to the infant Adam soul. We have learned from the foregoing that sin is not a moral lapse, but is ignorance or “missing the mark” through lack of self-knowledge. We also find that we are not to “resist” or “fight” this shadow called evil, but are rather to overcome it with the Omnipresent, Changeless Good, that is, we are to replace it with its opposite. We further find that the so-called shameful “Fall of man” had no ethical quality, but that he simply fell into a “little knowledge” which opened his eyes and paved the way for the “ascent” of the soul, which at first feebly feels its way after God, but as it grows in grace and the knowledge of the Lord loses the limited, false sense of self, and “puts on” the true Self Idea, which is sinless, guilless, diseaseless, deathless, eternal in the Heaven. “THERE IS NO EVIL ANYWHERE. THE GOOD IS ALL IN ALL. IT IS THE ONE REALITY.”
“I AM OPEN AND RECEPTIVE TO EVERY WORD OF TRUTH THAT IS SPOKEN TO MY SOUL. I RECEIVE THE WORD WITH MEEKNESS AND LOWLINESS OF HEART.”
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